04.24.09

Korrection Korner : Jim Baumbach Didn’t Tell Anyone To Shut Up About NYC’s New Stadiums

Posted in Internal Affairs, Sports Journalism, Technical Difficulties at 11:15 am by

Yesterday afternoon, I linked to a Newsday blog entry suggesting that criticism of NYC’s new ballparks was either played out or out-of-whack. I implied the author of said post was doing his readership a disservice.

Which is all well and good, except I misidentified the author. The entry in question was composed by Newsday’s Anthony Rieber, not Jim Baumbach. I’d like to offer Jim a very sincere apology for the error.

Spears : C’s Tony Allen Facing Death Threats In Chicago

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 9:43 am by

The Boston Globe’s Marc J. Spears is reporting backup guard Tony Allen —- 0 points, 3 rebounds in Boston’s 107-86 Game 3 defeat of the Bulls last night — has been the target of death threats in Chicago, and required additional security surrounding the Celtics’ bench Thursday evening.

Sources said Allen has been receiving the threats in Chicago for some time. The former Crane High star also received threats prior to a March 17 game at Chicago, sources said, but he didn’t make the trip because of a thumb injury.

“Is that what you’re going to write about? Is that what you’re going to write about?” said Allen, before walking away after being asked about the threats.

On April 25, 2007, Allen was found not guilty of aggravated battery in a Chicago court. The ruling came on the second day of a trial stemming from a fight in August 2005 outside a Chicago restaurant. The fight escalated into a shooting at the White Palace Grill in the West Loop Aug. 28.

04.23.09

WSC’s Gibbs : Gazza’s Return To Punditry Was Car Crash TV

Posted in Football, Sports TV at 7:47 pm by

The post-playing career of Paul Gascoigne has never ceased to be tabloid fodder, with the England international’s episodes of domestic violence and chronic self-abuse fashioning as much of his legacy as his achievements on the pitch.  As such, Gazza appearances on last Sunday morning’s Soccer AM (Sky) and Sunday evening’s Match of the Day 2 (BBC) seemed like disasters waiting to happen.  EPL Talk‘s Ross Gallacher called Gascoigne “more cogent than ever” and claims the Geordie legend was on “absolute top form”.   Sure enough, When Saturday Comes‘ Brian Gibbs respectfully disagrees, accusing the shows’ programmers of “presenting a freakshow”.

The kindest thing that could be said about Gascoigne’s MOTD2 debut, and his appearance on Soccer AMthe previous day, is that it was an improvement on his previous television punditry. But it was still painful to witness and it’s inconceivable that the BBC would not have expected that to be the case when they booked him. Presumably these latest media appearances are designed to aid in his rehabilitation, giving him a chance to appear in public to simply talk about football rather than once again recite the long list of problems that he is beset by.

But, however keen he is to remain in the limelight, feeding his need for public attention is unlikely to help him. He didn’t have coherent things to say about the football matches he watched, at least not enough to justify his presence on the pundit’s couch. But that’s not what he was there for. Like one of the zoo animals that behave unpredictably on a live children’s TV show, he was designed to be a talking point. It’s just a question of who was the more degraded by the experience, Paul Gascoigne or the BBC.

In February of ’08, I wrote “With the possible exception of Mike Tyson, it™s hard to come up with a global sporting icon whose fall from grace has been nearly as dramatic.  Gibbs makes a slight different analogy, opining of James Toback’s new documentary on Iron Mike, “however mentally damaged Tyson may be, he is also complex and articulate, someone whose interviews can make compelling viewing. That is not a claim that can be made for Britain’s best known screwed-up sports star.”

Newsday Scribe To NYC’s Disenfranchised Baseball Fans : Stop Your Sobbing

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 6:28 pm by

If one more person complains about the new stadiums’ ticket prices or sightlines or lack of Mets history and I’m going to go off. I mean it. I’ve never heard so many people whine about something that is (overall) so positive for New York baseball fans.

I mean it. One more complaint and you’re going to hear from me, New York.Jim Baumbach, Newsday, Anthony Rieber, Newsday, April 23, 2008

I’m just curious — and I hope this doesn’t sound like a complaint — how many games at Citi Field or the new Yankee Stadium has Mr. Rieber attended this season, where did he sit and how much did he pay for his tickets?   Grousing about either ballpark is probably getting a little tired for some, but I’d imagine there’s a higher percentage of Rieber’s readership who’d consider $23 for an upper deck, obstructed view seat to see Mets play the Padres on a weeknight a rotten deal than those who find such circumstances irrelevant.  Which baseball fans actually benefit from the “positive experience”  of being unable to attend the games?

That said, a cursory glance at CSTB sponsor FanSnap today revealed a plethora of Mets and Yankee tickets being sold for below face value, with some of the former’s upper tier seats going for as little as $6. Transportation and concessions costs aside, it might be possible this summer to see a Mets game for less than it would cost to check out the NY-Penn League Brooklyn Cyclones

If Sean Avery Doesn’t Need A Playoff Beard, Neither Do You

Posted in Blogged Down, Fashion, History's Great Hook-Ups, Hockey at 4:15 pm by

Come spring, a young man’s thoughts turn to….playoff hockey? OK, some young men, certainly. In solidarity with the New York Rangers — currently leading the Washington Capitals 3 games to 1 (not that you’d know from reading this blog, sadly) — The Gil Meche Experience‘s Pulp has a playoff beard on the go (“it allows me to feel like I’m doing more than just simple rooting”), however it’s not all fun and games at TGME HQ. You see, Pulp has a hot date Friday night.

I like this girl, so I don’t want to scare her off by seeming weird or looking like a deranged homeless man. My friend Dan suggested joking about it off the bat, but even calling attention to it makes me nervous, since then I’ll think she’s always staring at it and wondering if that’s food caught in it. Which is a ridiculous idea because I can’t even grow a beard thick enough to catch food in it.

There has to be something in my DNA that’s causing this, because I’m far from the first person in my family to sacrifice social grace for Rangers playoff action. In 1994, my dad was attending a family friend’s anniversary party. It just happened to fall on the same night as Rangers/Devils Game 7. So my dad, doing what any fan would do, turned the game on during the party. Whoops, bad move. Everyone stopped dancing and even the band stopped playing to revel in the drama up intil Stephane Matteau’s big moment. The family friend still doesn’t speak to my dad. Still, my mom married him, so there are obviously women out there who understand the problems associated with playoff hockey. I guess, maybe? I don’t know.

Make no mistake though, I can’t get rid of the beard, especially with the Rangers up 3-1 and heading to Washington on Friday to try to put their first round series away. The Rangers need me. They need me and my terrible beard. Don’t think the beard works? Shows what you know. Henrik Lundqvist’s inhuman performance? Chris Drury’s odd angle goal last night? Alexander Ovechkin’s thus far quiet series? It’s all thanks to the beard, friends, this I know.

I usually not the superstitious type, but I’ve not trimmed my eyebrows since the start of the Mets’ current 4-game losing streak.

Randy Levine’s Brilliant Plan To Address The Nu Stadium’s Acres Of Empty Seats

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 11:56 am by

If you tuned into YES’ coverage of the Yankees’ 9-7, 14-inning victory over the A’s yesterday, it was hard not to notice the game reached a conclusion in front of what seemed like more participants than spectators. Granted, not everyone can hang around for all 14 innings, but less than a week after opening for business, Yankee Stadium was no more occupied than McAfee Coliseum might’ve been for an early April matinee. In Wednesday’s New York Times, Ken Belson tackled the Yankees and Mets’ early attendance woes and dropped this tidbit at the very end of his item :

Randy Levine (above), the Yankees’ president, said last week that attendance at the second home game was proportionately ahead of last year’s pace. Levine also said that 80 to 85 percent of the Stadium’s 4,000 premium seats had been sold for the full season.

For next season, the Yankees plan to raise premium ticket prices 4 percent.

Chutzpah? Unmitigated greed? Or, as WNBC.com’s Josh Alper (of the late, great Feed blog) sees it, completely out of touch with reality.

You have to admire the Yankees at some level for their staunch refusal to play the public relations game. Empty seats that make Yankee Stadium look like Pittsburgh? We don’t care because we’re making money all the same. Widespread negative response to a Stadium and the amount it costs to visit? We’re raising prices.

On another level, though, that plan turns your stomach. The team’s owner has admitted some of the tickets are overpriced, which is a pretty clear sign that they’re overpriced, but Levine sees no reason to turn back. Either Levine knows something we don’t about where the economy is headed in the next few months, or he’s insane.

Here’s a vote for insane

So This Is What The Phoenix Suns Were Working On While En Route To The Lottery

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression at 10:37 am by

I’m not sure who oughta be more offended by the full-length version of the above clip, Todd Phillips or the Beastie Boys. Either way, props to auteur Steve Nash for finally finding a constructive use for Shaquille O’Neal’s police fetish.

Carter Admits Coveting Randolph’s Job Was A Faux Pas, Neglects To Give Jerry Manuel A Vote Of Confidence

Posted in Baseball at 10:21 am by

The Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks — the indie repository that from time to time has served as a baseball halfway house for legends including but not limited to John Rocker, Jose Offerman, Carl Everett and Pete Rose Jr.— are preparing for tomorrow night’s home opener with Southern Maryland, and what better way to stoke interest than by having the manager make what Chris Morris might call, ” a full and frank apology”? From Newsday’s Adam Ronis.

Gary Carter (above, left) received a lot of criticism for expressing his interest in the Mets managerial job last season when Willie Randolph still held the position. Almost a year later, Carter realizes he made a mistake.

“We all make mistakes in our lifetime,” said Carter at Ducks media day Wednesday. “With what happened, that politically incorrect statement what I said about my interest, then I would say yes it is a mistake. I wasn’t trying to step on anybody’s toes or undermine anybody. My intentions, I think, were sincere. They certainly were not malicious by any means. When it comes down to it, I’ve learned from that. It won’t happen again. I can tell you that.”

Carter said he spoke with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin in the offseason about managing the team, but Melvin had his candidates in line. Carter also spoke with Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik about that team’s opening, but Carter said that Zduriencik already had Don Wakamatsu in mind.

“It’s sometimes a chess game and just being in the right place at the right time,” Carter said.

I think I speak for many Mets bloggers fans when hoping-wishing-praying some sort of big league vacancy opens up in which the The Kid and Wally Backman are both candidates and end up openly campaigning against each other.

Atlanta : Equally Lousy At Counting To Six, Zookeeping

Posted in Basketball at 9:58 am by

Harsh enough that Atlanta squandered home court advantage in their Eastern Conference first-rounder by losing to Miami last night, 108-93, but True Hoop’s Henry Abbott wonders just what the heck is going on in Phillips Arena’s game operations department. A year after Hawks’ scorekeepers booted Shaquille O’Neal from a game in which he only had 5 fouls (causing the final minute of said contest to be replayed at a later date), Atlanta allowed a national televised playoff game to be interrupted by a flying hawk. Not this sort, either, as Abbott explains.

There we are, with 9:44 left in the first quarter, and Spirit the Hawk — an actual live Hawk in the habit of swooping from the rafters during introductions — landed on the basket support, but well away from play.

A little weird, perhaps, but not without novelty value.

Then with 9:17 left, just after Josh Smith had poked the ball out of bounds, play was briefly stopped as Spirit swooped around, freaking everybody out. Some fans ducked, needlessly, as he is a very precise bird and was easily a dozen feet above their heads. This time, he came to rest on top a remote-control TV camera mounted atop the shot clock, as you can see above.

NBA referees might stop a game for a bald eagle or an osprey. But this was a Harris Hawk. Game on.

Spirit stayed put for one play. But after James Jones drained a 3, and the action moved to the other end, Spirit moved the length of the court to take a closer look.

And that’s when the trouble really started, with 8:48 left in the quarter. Referee Danny Crawford wanted to be tossing up a jumpball, but instead was suddenly faced with players worrying over a real live hawk perched directly on the backboard — a high-arcing baseline jumper might well brush his beak.

Crawford must be a dad, because he did what any reasonable dad would do — tried to look like he was dealing with it. He approached the bird somewhat gingerly, making eye contact all the way. Then, to ensure the safety of all, he somewhat vigorously slapped the ball with his own hand. Once. And then again. All the while, he studied the hawk for a reaction. I can only imagine he was testing — to determine character. Was it a stable bird — or one that would attack after, say, a ball-slapping?

04.22.09

The Day Morrissey Came By To Do Bong Hits

Posted in Modern Art at 8:10 pm by

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(“FORTUNATE TEENS PARTY WITH MORRISSEY, 1994″ by Derek Erdman)

Chicago’s Derek Erdman has a new show, “Derek Erdman’s Fantasy Sports”, opening at Norman, OK’s Mainsite Contemporary Art Gallery on May 8.  The above piece is described thusly in an Erdman post to a popular social networking website  ;

There is a seldom told story that Morrissey’s tour bus broke down in small town Ohio in the autumn of 1994. A full day was necessary for the repairs to be completed and Morrissey and his band delighted local teenaged fans by stopping by a house party to drink beer and smoke marijuana. “It was the time of my life,” remarks Tamara Marshall, who was hosting the party. “My parents were out of town and I was told not to have a party, but once Morrissey showed up I knew I wasn’t going to be a secret for long.” When asked what she remembered most about Morrissey’s visit, Tamara answered, “he didn’t like Rolling Rock beer.”